by Loren G. Edelstein and Michael J. Shapiro | January 13, 2016

The Professional Convention Management Association's Convening Leaders conference introduced innovative concepts to the thousands of meeting professionals attending the event this week in Vancouver, British Columbia. While total attendee numbers will not be available until after the conference, PCMA president and CEO Deborah Sexton emphasized that "the success of this conference never has been and never will be about numbers."

The level of attendee participation and high-energy engagement are her goals for the event, Sexton told the media on Monday. Among conference highlights:

• A theme of "transparency" about creating an immersive meeting experience included the "Freeman Aquarium," left, a glass-enclosed room that housed the Freeman event-production team in action, inviting attendees to watch what typically would be done in the back of the house.

• PCMA unveiled the Conscious Meetings project, which helps meeting planners easily find CSR activities in more than a dozen meetings destinations. Find the portalhere.

• PCMA has updated its online CMP study course and released a related app, currently in beta and available to those who have registered for the course.

• A study conducted in partnership with Marriott International revealed key disruptors that will change meetings in the next three to five years: sensory analytics, tribalization, content safaris, living 360 and immersive telepresence. View the video summarizing the findings below.